One of the quickest ways to add value to your new land is to enhance its appearance with attractive landscaping. Installing gardens and woodlots can seem like an overwhelming amount of work and quickly add up to big bucks but one of the best ways to make an easier go of it is with native plants.
Why Use Native Plants?
While installing native plants requires the same amount of initial effort as showy ornamentals in the long run these heritage locals will be significantly more self-sustaining and require very little long-term maintenance. Look forward to lower water bills as well as native plants are genetically adapted to the vagaries of local weather, including drought.
Native plants will also be better at withstanding common diseases and pests to better protect your landscaping investment dollar. Not needing pesticides will mean not killing beneficial insects that oft times fall victim to aggressive insecticide campaigns. And the local creeks and watersheds won’t be contaminated by toxic runoff.
Plant communities native to your region will flourish faster to better fill in those empty spots on your property. They also provide familiar food and habitat for native wildlife that will keep your outdoor spaces lively. These heartier, healthier plants will also slow down the spread of fire with their vigor.
By introducing native plants to your land you also help preserve native ecosystems and possibly provide refuge for the estimated 5,000 native plant species in America that are considered to be at a risk for extinction. Using native plants not only will increase the beauty and value of your land but help play a part in preserving our natural heritage.
How Do I Find Plants Native to My Region?
No water, no fertilizer, no pesticides, less maintenance time. How can you find these wonder plants? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains a plant database that is searchable by state (http://plants.usda.gov/java/). You can view images of native plants, learn about invasive species, and get updates on current plant distribution. You can also study the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to use as your baseline for what native plants will grow best on your new property.
Once you identify the native plants you want to fill out your garden, you can shop for them in local nurseries. Another good source for finding native plants is in nearby arboretums and botanical gardens. They will almost certainly have displays of native plants to give you more ideas.